The Repository is open to the general public, year round, on Tuesday evenings from 6-8pm. Each week we welcome many individuals who are working on family research, have a local history question, need to purchase our various publications, or just stop in to donate some important historic document or artifact for the ever growing collection that we house there.
The Repository continues to acquire significant historic resources. We had thirteen new collections in 2015 and many previously established collections were added to. The new Linger Family collection is especially rich in original Civil War materials as well as many historic photographs from members of the G. O. Young family. Be sure to see some of these images in the wonderful story in this issue by Bo Waddell (great great nephew of G.O. Young). We also received significant additional acquisitions from previous donars including vintage clothing from Helen Reger, additional photos and documents from the Ralston Family and Ron Williams, the Episcopal Church, the DAR, and much more.
Our collections team is working diligently to process and make available the excellent recent acquisitions. We are very pleased to welcome our first, full time AmeriCorps individual, David Thachik this year. Dave has been working hard on cataloguing the new acquisitions into the collections, adding to our digital Upshur County History Encyclopedia [A major project that will be ongoing for quite some time where we will be digitally copying a vast range of research materials that we have put together at the Repository. This format will allow various types of materials to be combined in a format that will be much more user friendly. It will also connect to our digital collections storage system known as PastPerfect], working on this journal, and the upcoming summer exhibit. We are very pleased and fortunate to have access to the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area AmeriCorps program which is based in Elkins. If you haven’t already met Dave, and many of you have since he is very outgoing and involved, you will get to know him a bit better from materials later on in this (2016) journal.
The collections project is making strides forward and we have now added more than twenty thousand plus entries into the digital catalogue. This project has allowed us to move far beyond what we had been able to do with just paper cataloguing in the managing, indexing, and retrieving of our vast and growing collection of important Upshur County documents, artifacts, photographs, etc. We use this digital system every day to find specific items from our vast and growing collections. We also have huge amounts of uncatalogued materials in our holdings waiting to be entered into the system and we look forward to the time when our entire collection has been catalogued electronically. We’re not sure just when this will happen as the collection keeps growing.
There is always a great need at the Repository. Of course volunteer assistance is certainly at the top of the list. It is also very expensive to maintain the collection with correct archival processing and storage. Archival storage supplies are very costly since they must have the special qualities that protect the artifact and, at the same time, remain stable for many years. Acid free, ultraviolet protecting, materials are quite expensive and if you would like to make a donation, say of a hundred dollars or more, to allow us to maintain a constant stock of these supplies, please contact us. We are also very happy to assist the public with any needs in archival storage and preservation.
It does take an enormous amount of work to make the Repository a professionally operated research center, artifact and document collection, and center of the Society’s office operations. A small, but very dedicated, core of workers including Veneda Mills Gower (who records all memberships, sales, prepares membership correspondence, and much more), Amy W. Tenney, Noel W. Tenney, Linda Wygal, Michael Phillips, Don Henderson, Jr. and others, all make up that team. We’re very pleased to welcome Diane Orsburn Hanline, Suzy Wilson, and Jennifer Stout as dedicated volunteers this year. We are also extremely pleased to have the continuing assistance of Karon King and Lemoyne Wentz, who add their contributions to our publication and research efforts. Their results are evident with ongoing additions to our publications list each year.
We continue to work with West Virginia Wesleyan College and have been pleased to receive various Upshur County materials from Brett Miller, Archivist for WVWC. We’re pleased that Brett prepared a review of the early history of West Virginia Wesleyan College for the last Journal issue and assisted with the Summer 2015 Exhibit with a unit on WVWC. In fact, we’re so pleased that we nominated Brett to receive our History Hero Award given by the Archives and History Division/Culture and History of the State of West Virginia. Brett traveled to Charleston to receive his award in late January, 2016.
We would welcome your volunteer contribution to help with the many tasks of collection processing, research, and general repository duties. When you visit the Repository now, we want you to notice that the entire place has a much more “spic and span” look to it thanks to the weekly volunteer time of Karon King. Thanks Karon, and we appreciate her efforts on researching genealogical info for inquiries as well as assisting with the family information piece for this issue. We are also adding new shelving in the storage area and hope that the entire Repository will have a much more organized look in the near future.
We are always happy that those of you who use our resources see the fruit of your efforts. Just very recently, our friend Jim Marsh shared a copy of his brand new “History of Buckhannon Upshur Basketball” book with us. We always love being remembered in that way and we’re sure that Jim would be happy to sell you a copy.
We are now in a position at the Repository to receive a wide variety of materials that relate to the rich history of Upshur County. PLEASE! DON’T THROW ANYTHING AWAY THAT MIGHT SPEAK TO SOME ASPECT OF OUR COUNTY HISTORY UNTIL YOU LET US HAVE A LOOK.
Remember, what you may
consider valueless, we may consider priceless.